Below-par Fax shocked by Crusaders

Karl Harrison
Karl Harrison

Halifax produced their worst performance of the year as they stumbled to a 12-6 home loss against an unfancied North Wales Crusaders side.

Karl Harrison’s side were crushingly dominant early on, but seemed to fall apart mentally as much as physically once the visitors had registered two opportunist scores to go 12-0 ahead.

On a bog of a pitch, which will undergo much needed renovation work over the next month as Fax hit the road, Fax showed endeavour and effort, but lacked the attacking guile to break down opponents who, at best, were doggedly determined.

The final result never seemed remotely possible as Harrison’s side piled on the pressure in the opening quarter, with centre Danny Cowling and winger Tommy Saxton both being hauled down inches short.

The Welsh side didn’t even get into Fax’s half with ball in hand until the 25th minute, but when they did they made it count; winger Rob Massam squeezing over in the corner and full back Tommy Johnson converting impressively from touch.

It took them another seven minutes to mount another attacking foray as they toiled in the face of some ironclad defence, but again, when they got within striking distance, the home defence inexplicably parted to allow prop Mark Offerdahl to score an easy try, Johnson converting.

At the other end, Fax continued to squander the few opportunities they carved out, Luke Ambler putting down a Ben Johnston pass on the line to ensure the home side were booed off at the break.

They finally got on the board eight minutes into the second half, captain Scott Murrell charging clear and holding off the defence to touch down, Steve Tyrer cutting the deficit to 12-6 with the conversion.

Fax continued to dominate both possession and territory, and continued to carve out the occasional half chance - Tyrer, Gareth Potts and Ross Divorty all going close as the clock ticked down - but their play in the final third of the field never came close to matching the efficiency with which they exited their own half.

Halifax: Fieldhouse; Saxton, Tyrer, Cowling, Potts; Murrell, Johnston; Ambler, Kaye, Tonks, Manning, Divorty, Bracek. Subs: Holden, Adamson, Davies, Heaton

Crusaders: Johnson; Reardon, Bannister, Roets, Massam; Durbin, Dallimore; Walker, Hudson, Offerdahl, Middlehurst, Wild, Ashall. Subs: Smith, Martins, Adamson, Griffiths

Referee: Chris Leatherbarrow